This is the second of two posts introducing the BMA Archives. The first post covered what’s in the Archives, and how to find resources and materials.
As you browse through the finding aids for the BMA’s institutional records, you may notice that sometimes there isn’t much information beyond series descriptions. What if you are researching the work of Mary Cassatt and would like to see photographs of related exhibition installations? You wouldn’t be able to tell from the finding aid that the Archives does have photos of the 1941 exhibition The Art of Mary Cassatt.
Over the past decade, the Archives’ staff—along with volunteers, interns, and Work Study students—has been hard at work improving access to the holdings. This work was given a huge push forward with a 2011 grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) that allowed staff to process the entire backlog of nearly 1,000 linear feet of records and create a records management program to manage the flow of material coming to the Archives. Finding aids are now available for all institutional record groups and manuscripts both on the BMA’s website and via ArchiveGrid. General descriptions are searchable on WorldCat and the BMA Library’s catalogue.
In July of 2015, the BMA received a second grant from the NHPRC that will allow staff to improve upon the work already done and ensure that detailed information is available for the most heavily used materials. The project team will process at either the folder or item level five key collections:
- Audiovisual Collection
- Photograph Collection
- Juried and Invitational Exhibitions Records
- Education Department Records (before 1970)
- Curatorial Exhibitions and Publications Records (Arts of Africa, the Americas, Asia, and the Pacific Islands, Textiles, Contemporary Art, Decorative Arts, Painting and Sculpture, and Prints, Drawings and Photographs)
We will also create a plan for the long term digital preservation of material we have already digitized and plan to digitize in the future.
Summer Internships with the BMA Archives
If you’re a library school student or recent grad, keep an eye on the BMA’s Employment page for information about the summer internship application process. The NHPRC generously provided funding for six interns to assist with the project. Two interns worked with us in fall 2014 and we hope to have more work with us this spring as well as over the summer. Along with the interns, grant-funded Project Archivist Alexanne Brown joined us in January 2015 and will be responsible for processing the majority of the collections listed above. Alexanne and the rest of the project team are now hard at work processing the Photograph Collection, Audiovisual Collection, and Juried and Invitational Exhibitions Records. Look for more posts about what we find in the coming months!